Kirstie MacMorrow and half a dozen other teenagers walked out of the local soup kitchen with four oranges in each of their arms. They had received them in order of thanks for volunteering in the kitchen. It was half past three in the afternoon. The sun was hiding behind the sky of grey clouds that promised a shower of April rain sooner or later. Upon realizing this, Kirstie placed the oranges in the basket on the front of her bicycle before getting on it and starting home.
The busy street was filled with patrolling artillery troops and citizens bustling about and getting their shopping done before the rain started to come down. Kirstie peddled down the street smoothly, as to not bump the oranges around too much and bruise them up. She reached the road that forked away from the village of Fort Augusta and led to her large manor house on the shores of the Loch Ness.
The cows were grazing in the high, fenced field to her right. Kirstie stopped peddling and rolled along down the hill towards the house. She could just see her mother, Anne, and her ten year old brother, Angus, approaching the front fountain. She smiled and began peddling again, wanting to show Anne the contents of her basket. By the time she reached them, Angus was heading into the workshop and Anne was saying to Clyde, their old game keeper, "Can we move the cattle down to the lower field?"
"Oh, aye," Kirstie heard Clyde reply grumpily, "I have got nothing better to do."
"Mummy!" called Kirstie, stopping the bicycle with her feet. "Look what I've got!" Anne turned around at her voice. She was holding a wicker picnic basket in one hand, her purse in the other, and a sun hat on her head, which was useless, many thanks to the clouds above. Her mother's eyes widened when she saw the oranges.
"Where'd you get that?" she asked in a stunned voice as Kirstie took one out and handed it to her to examine.
"Every volunteer got four oranges today," explained Kirstie.
"I haven't had an orange in Lord knows how long," stated Anne.
"How was the shore?" asked Kirstie in a hopeful voice, "Did Angus have fun?"
"Angus? Fun?" replied Anne with a frown. Kirstie sighed and nodded.
Ever since their father had been called to serve as a sailor in the Royal Navy, Angus was not a fun-loving boy. He longed for his father to come home from the tour of duty, but, unfortunately, that would never happen now. Their father had gone missing almost a year ago when his ship was sunk at sea in the war. But Angus did not know this. Only Anne and Kirstie knew and they had yet to tell him. They believed that he was too young for such news.
Suddenly, a drop of cold rain fell upon Kirstie's hand. She gasped in surprise and Anne's eye took to the sky before calling out to Angus, "Angus! Come in now! You've got to help with the tea!" A moment later, he emerged from the workshop and the trio hurried into the house together as the rain began to come down harder.